The Founders and Us
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The Founders and Us

October 21, 2019

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge.
I’m Peter Robinson, a senior editor of National Review and a columnist for the New York Observer,
Richard Brookhiser grew up in Rochester and graduated from Yale. He is the author of nearly
a dozen books, including What Would the Founders Do? And most recently, George Washington on
Leadership. Rick Brookhiser is also one of the finest pro-stylists in English, an opinion
that I shared with Rick Zero [Assumed spelling] and mine, the late William F. Buckley Junior.
Segment 1, Why Should We Care. The founders lived in an America with — in which the population
was roughly 1.3% of the population today, in which the principal means of transportation
was the horse, in which the big source of energy was the water wheel. Why should we
care what the founders would do? Rick Brookhiser: Well, a lot of what they
dealt with we’re still dealing with. I understand we’re in the midst of a presidential election,
I’ve heard that said. Well, they had the first few. They started that system, and we’ve maintained
it for over 200 years. We are in the midst of two wars, depending on how you count them- Peter Robinson: How you slice them. Rick Brookhiser: Right. Peter Robinson: You mean Afghanistan and Iraq? Richard Brookhiser: Afghanistan, Iraq, the
War on Terror. Maybe it’s one big war, but — and of course they lived in a world of
war. They fought the Revolutionary War, and there were wars before and after that many
of them were involved in. And finally, human nature does not change that much, the passions
of men remain what they were. They spent a lot of their best thinking about those questions.
So a lot that was on their plate is still on ours. Peter Robinson: According to Bob Woodward’s
[Assumed spelling] book State of Denial, a few years ago when President George W. Bush
was feeling especially frustrated with the post-Saddam government in Iraq, he asked,
quote “where’s the leader. Where’s George Washington, where’s Thomas Jefferson, where’s
John Adams, for crying out loud,” close quote. Well, where were they? Why did America produce
figures such as these when neither Iraq nor any other country I can think of has produced
such figures. Richard Brookhiser: Was he saying that about
Iraq or about himself? Peter Robinson: You may pursue that if you
wish, but let’s assume at first that he was saying it about Iraq. Richard Brookhiser: Well look, we had —
the United States, the 13 colonies before it was the United States, it was part of the
English-speaking world which had been absorbed with political upheaval and the questions
that arise from it for 100 years, going back to the English Civil War and this had produced
a lot of thinking about society, how society should be run, you know, John Locke was very
involved in what became the Glorious Revolution. He was sort of a spin-meister for, you know,
William of Orange when he finally triumphed. So they were growing up in a culture that
had done a lot of thinking about this, and also was free enough
that it encouraged discussion. And so that was part of their heritage. Peter Robinson: So if you say the population
of the United States in the first census of 1790 was about 4 million, roughly the same
as the population of Kentucky or Louisiana. That makes these figures look very singular.
Adams, Jefferson; you won’t find them in Kentucky today. On the other hand, if you say, wait
a moment, they were continuous with the English-speaking world, they were in the tradition of Milton
and Locke, and Burke would — right, the Reflections on the Revolution in France. That makes it
intelligible some how. Richard Brookhiser: They’re not — [Inaudible]
right. They’re not all by themselves. Peter Robinson: Right. Segment 2. The Founders
and the Constitution. During the administration of George Washington, sectary of the treasury
Alexander Hamilton supported legislation to establish a national bank, and that started
a fight. And the founders disagreed quite vehemently on the constitutionality of Hamilton’s
proposal. Very briefly, if you can crunch that one down to 40 seconds or so. Richard Brookhiser: Well, you had two people
who had been at the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton and James Madison. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: And they were partners
in writing the Federalist papers. So this is about as authoritative as it gets. And
they disagree on the constitutionality of the national bank. And Hamilton says, you
know, look, the Constitution gives the government the power to, you know, to handle commerce
and various other things that require a bank. Therefore, it is implied that we can do this
unless it’s specifically forbidden, which it isn’t. Then Madison says, well no, if you
reason that way you’re going to have the government be able to do almost anything, because you
could have the change from A to B, and then B to C, and then so on to Z. So here at the
very beginning, the infant is still in the cradle, so to speak, and these two godparents
are struggling over it. Peter Robinson: Right. And I’d like to ask
you to do exactly the same sort of a 30-second treatment. Washington and Madison also have
a constitutional dispute, is that not right? Richard Brookhiser: Well, they have one —
there is one on– Peter Robinson: You’re dubious of Madison’s
positions — Richard Brookhiser: No, no. There is one on
the — who gets to have a say on treaties — [ Multiple voices speaking ] Peter Robinson: Right, that’s exactly right. Richard Brookhiser: Whether the House of Representatives
has a role. Peter Robinson: Yes. Richard Brookhiser: And the treaty with Britain
called Jay’s Treaty is — has come before the Senate, the Senate has approved it by
the narrowest of margins. But Madison, who is a Francophile, wants to block it. He thinks
he can block it in the House. And he says, well look, this treaty is going to require
the spending of money, that’s the province of the House, therefore the House has a say.
And Washington privately says this is preposterous. His attitude was, look, I was in Philadelphia
too, and no one — you know, at the Constitutional Convention. No one ever said anything of the
kind. Peter Robinson: So here we have two instances,
the debate over the national bank and this dispute – the dispute between Washington
and Madison is to me especially striking, because Washington presides over every session
of the Constitutional Convention, and Madison — Richard Brookhiser: And Madison was also there. Peter Robinson: — and Madison’s also there,
and we regard him as the principal drafter of the document. Richard Brookhiser: And they were such tight
friends that during that period James Madison was getting his mail at Mount Vernon. He was
spending so much time at Mount Vernon people sent their letters to him there. Peter Robinson: Now, listen to Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, quote, “the theory of Originalism gives the Constitution the
meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated,” close
quote. Is it a problem for the Originalism of Mr. Justice Scalia that George Washington
and James Madison, and James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, men who are at the Convention, disagreed
on what the document meant? Richard Brookhiser: Well, I think you’d have
to have an Originalism that will accommodate those disagreements. I mean, if you’re committed
to Originalism you do have to understand that you- you have certain original disagreements
that maybe have still never been ironed out. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: And you have to be mindful
of that. Now at the same time, there are also things that — that — none of the founders
contemplated or would have, you know, would have thought of. You know, we speak of Hamilton,
I think rightly, as the big government guy among them. And yet he thought that in order
for the federal government to pay for roads and canals, which he wanted them to do, there
would have to be a Constitutional amendment. So you see, even Hamilton was not willing
to take his notion of implied powers to say, well, the federal government does have the
power to pay for roads and canals. So he thinks we do need
a Constitutional amendment in order to get this. Now this is gone by say the 1830s, you
know, when Henry Clay and Daniel Webster are proposing this. Peter Robinson: Well, so then in a certain
sense the disputes among the founders, the particularly arresting disputes because they
were among men who were present at the Convention. In a certain sense that under guards, Justice
Scalia’s own treatment of the Constitution, because if you look at the way they reasoned
when they were disputing, none of them said, well, that may have been very well and good
for six years ago when we ratified the document, but it’s a living document, we must adjust
it. They were all engaging in quite tight originalist lines of argument really, weren’t
they? Richard Brookhiser: Originalist — Peter Robinson: Is that fair? Richard Brookhiser: Well, originalist, but
also based on their understandings of the nature of government. I mean, certainly Hamilton
was willing to say all governments by nature can and must do certain things. So we have
to be guided by that understanding as well as the particular Constitution we’ve established
for ourselves. Peter Robinson: So there’s certain premise
that is an antecedent to the document. Richard Brookhiser: That’s right. Peter Robinson: All right. Okay, now to wrap
up this question, you’ve got the Originalism of Justice Scalia, now listen to Justice Steven
Breyer. Quote, “why should courts try to answer difficult questions on the basis of logical
deduction from text or precedent alone. Why not ask about the consequences of decision-making
on active liberty.” The Originalism of Justice Scalia and the consequentialism of Steven
Breyer. Where would the founders have — let’s put it in a milder way. Toward which
would the founders have inclined? Richard Brookhiser: Well they might ask Justice
Breyer why do you care about liberty? Where did you get that from? Peter Robinson: Segment 3. The founders and
what George Washington called bountiful providence. Let me quote you to yourself, Rick. This is
in What Would the Founders Do. Quote, “if the founders did not make America a Christian
nation, many of them thought it should be a religious nation.” Now would you explain
both clauses of that sentence? Richard Brookhiser: Well, they did not look
– and they all came from particular colonies which became states. And a number of those
had religious establishments, and a number of those maintained their religious establishments
even after the First Amendment was passed. Peter Robinson: By establishment, you’re speaking
in a strict legal sense. Richard Brookhiser: Yes. Peter Robinson: You’re not talking about a
group of people who had influence, you’re talking about a church with legal standing
— Richard Brookhiser: Taxes are collected in
order to support the clergy of a particular church. Peter Robinson: Okay. Richard Brookhiser: Because states — the
First Amendment was not incorporated for the states until the Civil War amendments —
later. But the United States has many religions in it, even in the late 18th century. They’re
almost all protestant of one sort or another. I mean, there are a few Catholics and there’s
even a tinier number of Jews. But, you know, when people are arguing among themselves it’s
like this kind of protestant versus this other kind, and this could get very acrid. I mean,
they hanged each other, you know, not so many decades previously. So there was a sense,
both in terms of political theory and also just in terms of pragmatism, that we’re on
the same boat together and we have to learn how to, you know, split the difference here.
And — and so there behavior, and then the First Amendment when its promulgated and passed,
reflects that. Meaning that there will be no national establishment of any — of any
denomination. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: But in terms of the other
half of it, America being a religious nation, let me take Washington as a kind of the central
figure. He was, you know, by birth and by practice to some extent an Anglican or an
Episcopalian. He had been a church vestryman, he, you know, he had been baptized and married
in that church. He does not seem to have been as passionate about it as some of the other
founders were in their — in their religious beliefs. But he does say over and over again
in his private and his public pronouncements that providence plays an active role in the
whole founding experience. He talks about the astonishing interpositions of providence.
That’s one phrase during the Revolution. He — this is language he uses over and over
again. Peter Robinson: I was struck in reading Washington
on Leadership. Washington took it as a kind of ground of his thinking. His fundamental
premise was that much would be expected of him. He owed duties to his countrymen, to
his family, to the people with whom he did business. And that was the kind of providence
in which he believed. He — providence demanded good behavior of him. Now — [ Multiple voices
speaking ] Peter Robinson: Did you read that, is that
a fair reading? Richard Brookhiser: In contrast to someone
who thinks he has a star, that will – [ Multiple voices speaking ] Peter Robinson: Napoleon. Richard Brookhiser: Yes, yes. Right. Peter Robinson: Okay, now — well, I have
to ask you to be brief, but this is such an important question. I’ve so wanted to ask
you this question. I’m going to ask it anyway. Two views of how we — and I will overstate
both to make the point to frame the question. Two views of how we end up with the First
Amendment, the distance between the state and the church. View One. This is a profound
intellectual insight arising from the Enlightenment, and this view associates it with Jefferson,
who in his letter to the Danbury Baptists writes about a wall of separation between
church and state. One, they reason their way to it. Two, David Hackett Fisher [Assumed
spelling], an [Inaudible] seed, says wait a moment, the Revolution is a tremendously
important moment. But what they’re seeking to do in all kinds of ways is ratify arrangements
with which they’ve already had a couple of centuries of experience. So in a certain sense,
this refusal to establish a religion ratifies this kind of strange jerry-rigged system that
has grown up in the colonies where Boston is Puritan and Connecticut is Congregationalist,
and Maryland is Catholic. And they’ve all learned to live with each other and respect
each other, and carve out a certain sphere of private influence for each other’s colonies
and indeed for each other’s thinking. So one is blazing intellectual insight that arises
straight from the Enlightenment. The other is a ratification of experience, lived experience. Richard Brookhiser: Well, maybe the way to
reconcile that is that there were different Enlightenments. And you know, some Enlightenments
took experience into account. You know, Montesquieu, he was the most often referred to thinker
at the Constitutional Convention. Someone has counted. Not me, but —
[ Multiple voices speaking ] Peter Robinson: Alright. Alright. Richard Brookhiser: — someone has counted.
And then they called him the Celebrated Montesquieu, like that was his first name, you know? Celebrated
Montesquieu. And as we know, Montesquieu was very much that kind of a thinker, I mean,
a historian as well as a political philosopher. So they don’t — it’s not necessarily —
those two views are not necessarily in conflict. Peter Robinson: All right. Segment 4, republic
or empire. Thomas Jefferson in 1823, quote — he’s an old man. He’s had plenty of time
to reflect on this. “Our first and fundamental maximum must be never to entangle ourselves
in the broils of Europe,” closed quote. Today the United States has the biggest armed forces
in the world by a large multiple. We have an enormous military presence in Europe. We’re
— we’re entangled in their broils. Also in Asia, more recently in the Middle East.
Would the founders have approved of the current state of affairs or would they have been appalled? Richard Brookhiser: Well let’s take Jefferson.
Shortly before he said that quote, he’s writing to his pal James Madison, who’s just been
inaugurated as president, followed in the office. And he says, you know, we can get
Cuba and Canada — he says Canada will be a mere matter of marching. And then he says
then we will have such an empire for liberty — empire for liberty — as the world has
never seen. So you know, maybe he didn’t want to get broiled in Europe, and there were lots
of reasons not to in his life time. Peter Robinson: He didn’t mind snookering
Napoleon, though, to add the Louisiana Purchase. Richard Brookhiser: No, but that was over
here. You know, and that was in his back yard, and he grabbed for that when the chance came
up. And he — and that wasn’t all. He thought we’d get Canada and Cuba, which we never have
got. I mean, we had Cuba for a few years and then we let it become independent, and we
were never able to take Canada. You know, we tried. We tried a couple of times. So you
know, even he had that – had that ambition. Washington certainly uses the phrase this
rising empire over and over. I mean, he uses it at that dramatic moment at the end of the
revolution when he’s appealing to the almost mutinous officers in Newburgh. He says do
not deluge this rising empire in blood. I mean, he sees a great future for America,
which is not only great morally and great politically, but great in terms of its size
and power. Peter Robinson: How was he using the word
empire? Did he mean it the way we use it, when we talk about the Austro-Hungarian empire,
which is a collection of quite different peoples held together under a system of government,
but also a force. Or did he mean it something more analogous to what we now think of as
having been the British empire, which is a system of language and thought and a kind
of culture. Richard Brookhiser: Well I think he means
a political entity of empyreal extent and power. I think that’s — that’s the basic
meaning there. And obviously, it can’t have a monarch, because that’s — Peter Robinson: We’ve done that. Richard Brookhiser: — we’ve done that, and
he refused, you know, sort of a bumptious offer that came his way from one of his officers.
So we’re not going to have a king. There will be no emperor. But for this to be a great
— for this to be a super-power, that is something he hoped — hoped would happen. Peter Robinson: No problem. Dirty trick but
I can’t resist. Invasion of Iraq. Specific question, would they have approved? Richard Brookhiser: If they thought there
was a threat to us, and Iraq being uninvaded, well yes. I mean, you know, Jefferson fought
a war with Islamic countries in North Africa. And he — and he actually broke the policy
of the Washington and the Adams administration which was to pay them off to leave us alone.
They went the negotiation route. And for good reason. I mean, not to bad reason. But — Peter Robinson: The cheapest way out of the
problem. Richard Brookhiser: The cheapest way out of
the problem. They’re running a protection racquet. You know, we pay them, and they won’t
raid our shippings and enslave our people that they capture. But Jefferson becomes president,
he’s been dealing with this question since he was minister to France. He’s been dealing
with it a long, long time. And you know, we sometimes think of Jefferson as a Pacific
man. But you know, he says, I’ve had enough of this. Enough is enough. And he sends a
fleet over to the Mediterranean, and then it goes on. I mean, he uses force, then he
negotiates, and then the treaty he negotiates doesn’t hold up. So then Madison has to send
a second fleet over in the Madison administration, and then finally the problem ends. But there’s
a problem that goes on through the first four administrations, and it went on even before
the Constitution. It’s a long-running problem. Peter Robinson: Okay now, President Bush,
President George W. Bush, has offered two rationals for the war in Iraq. One was that
the regime of Saddam Hussein represented a threat — direct threat —
to our own security. The other is that we need to spread Democracy to be true to our
own mission. Listen to Bush’s second Inaugural Address. From the day of our founding we have
proclaimed that every man and woman on this Earth has rights — from the day of our founding,
by the way — has rights and dignity and matchless value because they bear the image of the maker
of heaven and Earth. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. Now
it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security. There we go back to the rational
that we have to do it for our own protection, and the calling of our time. And there the
rational that we must because we’re Americans. You’ve addressed the first rational. They
would have whacked Iraq if they thought it represented a threat to this republic. What
about the second? Richard Brookhiser: There you would have seen
some disagreement. I mean, Governor Morris, who is in some ways my favorite founder, and
he’s not — Peter Robinson: And the title of your book
about Governor Morris is? Richard Brookhiser: Gentleman Revolutionary. Peter Robinson: Gentleman Revolutionary. Richard Brookhiser: The rake who wrote the
Constitution. Peter Robinson: All right, add that to your
pile of Rick Brookhiser books. Richard Brookhiser: And he was — he was a
cynic. And he was an experienced cynic because he lived for almost eight or nine years in
Europe, and part of that time he was a businessman in France and then he was our minister to
France during the French Revolution. And he was at the first meeting of the three estates
when Louis XVI got this all going, and then he leaves when Robespierre has been toppled.
So he sees that old swatch of history. And his attitude toward the French was that they
were like a vicious horse in a cart, and they needed the whip and the spur to tame them.
So could France ever have free institutions? Not really, maybe a little freer, but they’re
just not like us folks. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: Okay, so that’s one view.
I think there were other founders who would
say, well yes, even France can have freedom. Peter Robinson: Jefferson, particularly. Richard Brookhiser: Well, Jefferson — thought
they were going to have it right away. But I think even some of those who were very skeptical
about the French Revolution would have said, well, this is a bad way to go about it, and
this is not going to work. But they wouldn’t say the French can never have it. They would
say, look you’ve got to, you know, try again. And you know, all the men — we like to laugh
at how many different French regimes there have been, but the two longest ones were the
third and the fifth republic. Peter Robinson: Third is? Richard Brookhiser: From 1871 — no, the third
republic, 1871 to 1940. And then the fifth is ’58 to now. Peter Robinson: Right. So they have actually
— after a delay of almost a century, even the French found democracy. All right. So
there have been a range of views about human nature and about the extendibility of democracy
in American ideals. Richard Brookhiser: About the extendibility
of democracy maybe less about human nature, because they did — they did refer to the
laws of nature and nature as God, and not having universal application. Peter Robinson: All right. Segment 5. The
founders and politics. Rick Brookhiser in What Would the Founders Do? Quote, “sick of
attack ads, spinning, mindless partisanship. The founders hated it as much as you do. They
also invented it.” Explain. Richard Brookhiser: Look, if they came back
now, you know, if they were looking at the 2008 election and we briefed them on 2002,
2004, think they’d say this is better. You know, the tone is just — it’s just better.
It’s just kind of nicer and it’s not as mean as it was when we were around. I mean, when
people — it kills me when people moan and groan about how awful and ugly it is. And
it is awful and ugly, it really is. But I say read the political literature of the 1790s.
I mean, it was just berserk. It really was. Peter Robinson: Talk about going negative. Richard Brookhiser: And part of that — part
of that is its all brand new. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: And you don’t know the
first time that if your enemies come in that they will be willing to leave. Peter Robinson: Right. Richard Brookhiser: You know, your theory
may say, well yes they will. But you haven’t done it yet. So — so when the first two-party
system emerges after the Constitution is in place and this is the Federalist party of
Washington, Hamilton, John Adams. And then there is the Republican party of Thomas Jefferson
and James Madison, which is now the Democratic party — Peter Robinson: And they’ve divvied themselves
into these two parties in practice before the end of Washington’s second term, is that
right? Richard Brookhiser: Yes, yes. It already happens
— [ Multiple voices speaking ] Peter Robinson: — just like that. Richard Brookhiser: It — it’s a few years
and then they’re off. And part of it is foreign policy and part of it is domestic policy.
But — but they had these disagreements. And you know, and they really don’t know, I mean
the Federalists think, you know, if these people come in they’ll just want to bust up
the whole government. And Hamilton writes that, you know, the stakes in this election
— I think he’s talking about 1796 — is laws, property, and of course heads. You know,
he just tosses off that reference to guillotines and the French Revolution, just like, tosses
that off. And then you know, Jefferson believes that Hamilton is a monarch. Which he isn’t,
but Jefferson really believes this, that Hamilton, you know, he’s only putting up with the Constitution
for the time being, he really wants it to be a monarchy. So there’s this — you know,
there’s this kind of — Peter Robinson: They really only had two models
to choose from, in effect. Britain or France. They didn’t have their own model. It was too
fresh. Richard Brookhiser: They didn’t know that
they had it. I mean, they really did, and they really were working on it, but here,
I mean here it’s a little country, here these two super-powers with their gravitational
fields — everything is new. This world war is raging, and you know, that just makes you
feel uncertain and insecure, and the response to that is almost lunacy. Peter Robinson: To present-day politics. Henry
Adams, great-grandson of John Adams, actually to present-day politics by way of the late
19th century. Henry Adams, great-grandson of John Adams. By the way, your book on the
Adams dynasty is called — Richard Brookhiser: America’s First Dynasty. Peter Robinson: America’s First Dynasty. Add
that to the bed-side stack. All right. Henry Adams writing on the presidential politics
of the late 19th century, quote, “the progress of evolution” — I love this one — “the progress
of evolution from President Washington to President Grant is alone evidence enough to
upset Darwin. Okay, Washington to Grant, Grant to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Repudiate
the argument that that’s an unbroken decline. Richard Brookhiser: Well, look — Peter Robinson: If you will. Richard Brookhiser: Let’s just start with
Henry Adams, whom I love, but you do want to ring his neck, you know, half the time.
And partly, he’s upset that it’s — it’s not Henry Adams, it’s Grant in the White House.
You know, who are these Grants coming into the family inheritance. You know, and Grant’s
presidency is being revived upwards, even as we speak. And for a variety of reasons. Peter Robinson: And he had broken Lee, which
was not an inconsiderable task. Richard Brookhiser: Well no, his military
genius ought to be unchallengeable, and people are finally figuring out that he was at least
an okay president, not in the cellar where he’s been for a while. But you know, part
of it is, again, that it’s not just the leaders who are in the picture here, it’s also everybody
else. So if we don’t, you know, if we don’t like the class of leaders we have, the fault
is not only theirs. I mean, we put them there, we really do. They are not there because they
are the nephew of the Duke of so-and-so, you know. They’re there because they got elected,
and they got elected because we and our friends decided to do that. So we have a responsibility
— we always have a responsibility. And if we’re really that unhappy with it, then we
ought to do some reflection about ourselves. The other thing is people do respond to crisis
and challenges. I mean, you know, Abraham Lincoln was kind of a slick railroad lawyer
from Illinois, and most people think he did pretty well. Franklin Roosevelt was from a
sort of a broken down Hudson River aristocracy, minor sprig of the Roosevelt clan. Many people
think you know, he did all right. So you know, and there may even be people who look back
on George W. Bush and his response to 911 and you know, revise their opinions of that.
Peter Robinson: Okay Rick, final couple of questions, alas. And now instead of talking
about George Washington or writing about George Washington, as you do brilliantly and enjoyably
in George Washington on Leadership — you are George Washington and I am let’s say Lafayette,
someone in who Washington confided. So let me name three names and ask you to give me
– ask you, General Washington, to give me a candid sentence or two on each. George
W. Bush. Richard Brookhiser: You must never take your
hands off the wheel. Peter Robinson: John McCain. Richard Brookhiser: We share the same flaw,
which is temper. And you’re older than I ever got, so I could never make it go away and
neither will you. But what we do is we learn to step back from it and make decisions on
the basis of our rationality, not our temper. Peter Robinson: Barack Obama. Richard Brookhiser: You have great communication
skills, which were different than mine. Play to those advantages, you know. Never throw
them away. But communication is not the only thing you will need. You will also have to
back it up with a consistent record of your deeds. Peter Robinson: Last question, General Washington.
We presume you’re now 300 and-some years old, and still a registered voter. In November,
for whom do you intend to vote? Richard Brookhiser: John Adams said of me
shortly after I died that Washington possessed the gift of silence.
[ Laughter ] Peter Robinson: Richard Brookhiser, author
of many wonderful books, including What Would the Founders Do? And still more recently,
George Washington on Leadership. Thank you very much. Richard Brookhiser: Thank you. Peter Robinson: I’m Peter Robinson at the
Hoover Institution, for Uncommon Knowledge, thanks for joining us.

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